Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dressed to Impress

Unbelievably gorgeous Tyson Ritter, who definitely belongs on the fresh list, showed up at the premiere for Disney's Meet the Robsinsons with his washed-up Guess model girlfriend Kim Smith. More interesting than Kim is Tyson's choice of attire. He's wearing the "Protect Your Largest Organ" t-shirt that Marc Jacobs made for the big melanoma awareness campaign last year. The line features wonderfully naked celebrities like Hilary Swank, Winona Ryder, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Selma Blair, Brandon Boyd (*drool*), Rufus Wainwright, and Julianne Moore. Tyson is wearing the incomparable Dita on Teese shirt with a sleek tailored white blazer. Perfect rock star hotness.

The Fresh List!

Fresh - It's more than just being unconventionally gorgeous. It's all about making things happen, people who want and work to make a change, people who get more out of life than your average pretty young thing. Each of the people on this list is more than just an incredibly pretty face, they're all incredibly talented people who you'll probably be hearing a lot more from in the future:


- Agyness Deyn - Of all the latest Brit It girls, none has had the innocent charm or the insouciant approach to glamour that Agyness posesses. Even better, she has none of that British drugged-out leftover heroin chic that girls like Irina seem to flaunt.

- America Ferrera - You can't help but fall in love with America as Ugly Betty. She removes all the pretense from the world of high fashion and injects it with a real wit all her own.

- Camilla Belle - Not only is she impossibly pretty and impossibly chic in ways Hollywood hasn't seen for years, but she's also been snatching up roles in all the gritty independent films that no other starlet could ever hope to get.

- Carice van Houten - Catch her escaping the Holocaust in Black Book when it comes out in April.

- Catherine McNeil - The 17 year-old Aussie isn't deathly skinny like all those other models. Her slightly devilish but quite healthy look is by far the most original amongst a sea of Brazilian bones and Eastern European cadavers.

- Isla Fisher - She's not just Borat's wife and she's not just the nympho from Wedding Crashers. She's finally about to break big on her own this year in roles both serious and comedic.

- Julia Restoin-Roitfeld - When your mother is not just definition of French chic, but also the woman who defines it, you certainly have some pretty high standards to live up to. Even if her mother Carine is the editrix of Paris Vogue, she can still capture the dirty, pretty thing vibe that all the young French girls seem to want today.

- Leona Lewis - She's a class act and she will outsing all those trashy British whores (like Amy Winehouse). Oprah agrees.

- Rachel McAdams - Moving past Mean Girls, Weddings Crashers, and The Notebook, the lovely Canadian freshened up the front rows of Chanel Couture with her pink locks.

- Rachel Roy - Damon Dash somehow managed to marry just about the most talented new designer of the past year, and she always manages to look perfect at every party. And she is indeed invited to every party.

- Rashida Jones - More than just Peggy Lipton and Quincy Jones' daughter, she's capturing the hearts of America's office drones as she somehow endures Michael Scott's insanity.


- Andrew Simpson - When your first major role is opposite Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal, people better start taking note of you.

- Gaspard Ulliel - While he's exceptionally handsome in an incredibly boyish way, his looks still pale in comparison to his skill in roles opposite Audrey Tautou and Marianne Faithfull.

- Jack McCollough & Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler - Once you take the high fashion world by storm, where do you go next? To Target! By far the highest profile designers Target has seen thus far, Jack and Laz bring their body-conscious signatures to the masses.

- Jérémie Elkaïm - As the French counterpart to John Krasinski's Jim Halpert, the star of Le Bureau and Presque rien certainly has a lot about him to like.

- Louis Garrel - Tall, dark, handsome + Roles in visionary French films + Famous, talented family = Monsieur Garrel. Imagine a French version of Gael García Bernal.

- Mika (Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiika!) - This generation's new ambiguous pop star is different in that his music is actually worth listening to.

- Paolo Nutini - A Scottish lad with an Italian name has come a long way in the past three months. See him on the road if you can get a ticket.

- Ryan Taylor - Imagine if Bruce Weber's All-American guy just so happened to be Canadian. He wouldn't be such an idiot. And he'd be perfect.

Am I missing anybody?

Friday, March 30, 2007

Movie Watch! - Come Undone

So many wonderful revelations today!

I just watched Presque rien (2000), a French film that was somehow translated into Come Undone for the American audience. Either way, it's the story of young Mathieu (^_^), whose family is staying near the sea for the summer while his mother recovers from her illness. Mathieu spends lazy days at the beach, until he meets Cedric, played by Stéphane Rideau. They ignite this crazy-passionate-lustful summer romance and it's all dandy for a while. Eventually, Mathieu realizes that he and Cedric are maybe very, very different people who just don't belong together. Mathieu is studying to become an architect, while Cedric is kind of a bum working at a carnival concessions stand making waffles. One of the pivotal scenes involves some really gorgeous castle ruins, I almost missed the dialogue because the scenery was so beautiful. The locations in this film are simply stunning, the acting is strong, and the directing is gentle, although it takes a bit of work to really understand what's going on. But I really did feel quite pleased after watching it. 9/10

In any case, Jérémie Elkaïm is gorgeous in a very laid-back, low-key kind of way. He's thin as a reed in that delicate way that's neither too skinny or too normal. His mess of cheveux bruns is devilish and boyish all at once. He doesn't look like he's particularly conceited, nor is he entirely readable. That's incredibly attractive, natch.

After watching the movie, I was scouting the IMDb boards on it when I discovered that Jérémie Elkaïm is currently playing the role of Paul Delorme on Le Bureau, the French version of The Office! And it just so happens that Paul Delorme is the French equivalent of Jim Halpert, my favorite Dunder-Mifflinite! Sweet coincidences abound!

There was a link on one of those IMDb forum pages to a French website,, which is exciting and all looking at the cast at Le Bureau, but what was really awesome were all the ads for the McOriental, which is apparently some crazy new sandwich at McDonalds locations in France. I can't tell exactly what makes it "McOriental," it just looks like a normal burger with a weird, flat bun. But, according to the French McDonalds website, it is made from "Oriental bread" with ground beef prepared with onions, coriander, and cumin, topped with a special sauce that might be slightly spicy. Which actually sounds really good now that I think about it.

So I Google McOriental and the first thing I can find is the blog of some guy studying abroad of something. He described the lovely McOriental meal, which inexplicably, includes potato chips instead of fries. Anyways, what I found interesting is that there apparently used to be a sandwich at McDonalds locations in Spain that was called - wait for it - the McMexico. Zing!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Movie Watch! - Shortbus

Shortbus (2006) - The opening scenes literally left me speechless and made my jaw drop. At the same time, my suitemate Patrick was in awe. It This movie is unrated, which is just as well because it's full of hardcore graphic pornography. Director John Cameron Mitchell tries his best to place all the hardcore graphic pornography within the context of young, underground New Yorkers on their quest for some sort of self-realization. And on some levels, it does achieve an earnest amount of success. But in general, it's very clear that these are first-time actors and that the plot is paper-thin. At times it is sweet, dour, maybe even a little endearing. At other times it lags, dragging us through lives that we are given no reason to be interested in. It does get better about 2/3 of the way through though. 5/10

Monday, March 26, 2007

Fall In Love With Gaspard Ulliel

Gaspard Ulliel is the most talented, cunning, slyly handsome DPT (dirty pretty thing) to come out of France since, well, Louis Garrel. And that's saying a lot. The fact that he held his own opposite Audrey Tautou in A Very Long Engagement is quite a feat. Check him out in Hannibal Rising (or something more romantic and/or French if that doesn't suit you).

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Movie Watch! - Belle de Jour

Belle de Jour (1967) - Catherine Deneuve trumps all in this craaaaazy-ass classic French film. I love old French films because most of them are absurdly stylish. I especially love watching depictions of the French bourgeois from the 1950s and 1960s, traipsing about in their hyper-mod Pierre Cardin manteaux de cuir verni and prim little jupes. Deneuve is a marvel in clean A-line coats and swingy wool frocks, all topped off with this movie's most famous fashion contribution, Roger Vivier's signature pilgrim pumps. I can see how this movie has directly influenced some of my favorite designers, most especially Nicolas Ghesquière's mindblowing, life-changing Fall/Winter 2005 collection for Balenciaga. But back to the movie!

I can see how this would've pretty damn controversial in the 1960s. Deneuve plays Séverine Serizy, whose vulgar fantasies and illicit "compensated affairs" as Belle de Jour earn her the ravenous desire of men she has no reason to want back. Pierre Clémenti, as Belle's Latin lover Marcel, looks fiercely modern and stylish. He's slightly exotic and devilishly handsome - without the silver teeth, he could be a doppelganger for Max Minghella. Between Séverine's sexless but loving marriage to her doctor husband and Belle's passionate, erotic rendezvous avec Marcel, she becomes mired in self-doubt and confused to wit's end. I certainly understand. Watch it for a intriguingly desperate woman with a beautiful wardrobe, supported by an arrestingly attractive cast. 8/10

Interesting fact - The painting that hangs in Séverine's marvelous apartment is Picasso's 1912 Glass and Bottle of Suze, which just so happens to be the signature piece in WashU's (aka my school's) art collection.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Movie Watch! - Junebug

Oh, Amy Adams! She absolutely stole the spotlight in 2005's Junebug, which also starred Embeth Davidtz (I don't know who she is either), Benjamin McKenzie (I miss The O.C.), Alessandro Nivola (sweet holy mahoney!), and some old people. It's a comedy/drama about a British diplomat's daughter (Davidtz) who marries a guy (Nivola) who she meets at the outsider art gallery in Chicago where she works. Six months later, scouting for a new artist brings the couple back to his hometown in North Carolina, where she finally meets his decidedly Southern family.

You may recognize Amy Adams as Jim Halpert's girlfriend from the second season of The Office, (or from one of the many, many other movies she's been in) but this is most certainly her breakout role. She's at once charming and overwhelming, the naïf who seems more excited about the world than even God had intended. She fresh and delightful to the point that she may even seem a little delusional, but she's undoubtedly lovable. Her performance is what drew me into the film in the first place, and she did not disappoint.

Ryan Atwood
Benjamin McKenzie finally steps out of SoCal and into, well, NoCarolina, and it's a bold first step into grittier roles. Alessandro Nivola has the most bluntly do-me-I'm-exotic name ever for someone who was born in Boston. It surprised me that he isn't really an especially strong presence in this film, but we do get to see his butt and it's very much like a statue.

It's an earnest attempt, certainly worth watching for all the endearing performances on behalf of the ladies and all the stoic Southern doldrums of the gentlemen. 8/10

Friday, March 23, 2007

Movie Watch! - Sommersturm

I just watched Sommersturm (which is German for Summer Storm) and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I expected a decent movie, seeing as it had gotten mostly positive reviews on Netflix and whatnot. And that's pretty much what I got - an unpretentious coming-of-age story that spliced in sex, comedy, sports, friendship, romance, and maybe a few other topics together in a way that didn't seem forced or unbelievable. Unlike many of its American counterparts, the script didn't obsess with cliches, nor did I mind when it wandered into somewhat familiar territory. Campy, yes, but at least it owns up to that fact. Surprising indeed. The real hidden treasure happened to be the mostly English soundtrack, much less obnoxious than you'd expect from a film like this. Here's the complete list:
  1. "Blonde on Blonde" by Nada Surf
  2. "Shake the Foundation" by Radio 4
  3. "Willkommen" by Rosenstolz
  4. "Los, Wixen" by Niki Reiser
  5. "Auf ins Bergische" by Niki Reiser
  6. "We’ll Never Know" by Roman Fischer
  7. "Maltes Kuss" by Niki Reiser
  8. "Flames" by VAST
  9. "Verwirrt" by Niki Reiser
  10. "Achim" by Niki Reiser
  11. "Getaway" by Roman Fischer
  12. "Jim’s Theme" by Niki Reiser
  13. "Coming Out" by Niki Reiser
  14. "Catch Me" by Kerosin
  15. "We Oh We" by The Hidden Cameras
  16. "Crooked Lines" by The Go-Betweens
  17. "For Lovers" by Wolfman/Pete Doherty
  18. "The Power of Love" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  19. "Sommersturm" by Niki Reiser
  20. "The Summer We Had" by Nova International
I would say that if you had a Netflix account, it would be worth adding it to your queue. 'Twas a good, light, summer camp romance. 7.5/10

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Places I'd Like To Visit Before I Die

The title says it all. Here's my list so far:

- Paris and the rest of France, especially the southern coast
- Lake Como, Italy
- The Canary Islands
- Dubai
- Prague
- Sao Paolo and other parts of Brazil
- Northern Alaska/Canada
- Somewhere in Africa, maybe Maputo, Mozambique (vague, I know, but I can't decide)
- Boston

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Movie Watch! - Half Nelson

Yikes! Spring break is over and I only got around to watching one movie! I finally finished watching the entire series of "Arrested Development" and I highly recommend it. Otherwise...

1) Half Nelson (2006) - Ryan Gosling gives an Oscar-nominated performance as an inner-city teacher addicted to crack. Tough break. Good performance. But, honestly, I fell asleep. Shareeka Epps was pretty darn good as the student who tries to break through to him. But yea. 5/10. And that's for the strength of the acting, not reflective of the directing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Who's A Crazy Bitch?

This bitch is crazy!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Aisle 11

Aisle 11

Don't Miss It!

Paolo Nutini's American tour is selling out like crazy! Several of the concerts have been moved to larger venues to accommodate for damned extra demand! In Seattle, he's playing on March 28 at The Showbox, which is a much bigger venue than The Triple Door, where he was originally set to perform. DO NOT MISS IT! I'm sure tickets will sell out any second, so buy them now, you lucky dogs!

Movie Watch! - The 400 Blows, Garcon Stupide and Babel

What movies have I seen lately?

1) The 400 Blows (1959) - An old French movie about a 13 year-old who tries to run away, but finds that life is much harder on the street. Not as lovely or complex as any of the other French movies I've been watching, and really not all that enjoyable to sit through, but it wasn't too terrible either. I don't think I could do it again though. Black and white hurts my eyes. 5.5/10

2) Garcon Stupide (2004) - Another French tale of an extremely promiscuous French male who kinda puts his body up for sale while his real relationships fail. Or something like that. Kind of derivative at times, and the story isn't particularly interesting or logical (does any French film have a good plot?), but the absolutely wondrous, dreamy cinematography makes up for it, and you really get to see a beautiful side of France (namely locales outside Paris) that rarely ever get screen time elsewhere. 6.5/10

3) Babel (2006) - From the same intense director of 21 Grams, Alejandro González Iñárritu, comes an equally intense trio of intertwining stories revolving around the theme of communication and the way that it fails us. When the weakest performance comes courtesy of Cate Blanchett, you know that the cast is amazing. Every actor is touching, poignant, and incomparably skilled at communicating all the subtle frustrations their character encounters. The locations are beautifully conceived, and everything feels just a little less hopeless than in 21 Grams. Definitely worth watching. 9.5/10

Fall 2007 - Lanvin

Elber Albaz isn't out to create some statement on futurism or minimalism. He wants to say something about where to go next, how the modern woman is going to want to dress when she's done with all the frilly fluff shown everywhere else. Yes, this collection had a fair share of what may have seemed like 1980s big-shouldered mayhem, which kept on trend with all the Azzedine Alaia and Romeo Gigli references bouncing around. But this collection was more potent than that. Those shoulders were so much softer and feminine than anything seen on Dynasty (or even this season at Maison Martin Margiela) due to the fact that they were puffed up with air, a naturally constructed way to gently add volume without adding bulk. And what an easy way to dress! Lacking the severe sportif theme of last season (which was rather butch, only emphasized by the fact that Amanda Moore was the first model out), this season played up a new sense of femininity, which doesn't exactly involve frothy chiffon, but isn't as simple as deconstructing menswear into liquid shapes either. Elbaz's version of a real woman falls somewhere in between, and it's really a refreshing, even pretty thing to see. The simple-looking shifts were really ripe with much more subtle construction details, something that needs to be appreciated up close and in person, along the lines of Raf Simons at Jil Sander. The show got repetitive near the end, but when you're trying to introduce the world to a whole new way of dressing, isn't repetition the only way to really drive it home?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fall 2007 - Miu Miu

Yikes. How to describe this latest attempt from Miuccia Prada? Well, that's a harsh way to start. There were several very lovely pieces in there, you just had to know where to look. The show was the Miuccia-typical high-concept affair, although this time it seemed to have faltered maybe just a bit. Who knows, maybe in 12 months, we'll all realize she changed the direction of fashion (as she always does), but for now we'll just have to wait and see. To start, the proportions were new and old, with jackets tailored just slightly soft and paired with extra-large pleated skirts. The colors were extremely monochromatic from head-to-toe, in camel, charcoal or black (a bold statement in a season of bold color). As the show went on, things loosened up a bit, with more familiar proportions and very wearable coats and party dresses, but kicked up a notch with signature Miu Miu attention to new fabrics and new patterns, this time with an intense focus on texture. The silvery midnight blue lurex brocade, used for coats and pants and everything in between, really struck a chord, as did the punch-red silks and cashmeres. The show ended with hoards of leather jackets and skirts, which just looked rather uncomfortable, no matter what the season. But in the end, it's the shoes and bags that will get everybody rushing into the stores, and those were all right on target this season, most especially the preppy spectator pumps for girls and the wingtips for guys. The pictures I included aren't meant to sum up Miuccia's overall themes. Rather, I chose what I thought were the five prettiest, most wearable looks, all of which are likely to hit stores.

Fall 2007 - Nina Ricci

Soon after Rochas prematurely closed its doors, Nina Ricci swooped right in and poached one of the most creative young designers out there right now, Olivier Theyskens. Best known for his previously harsh, gothic gowns that Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow screwed up on the red carpet when he was still designing for his eponymous line, Theyskens now has a chance to shine once more (and maybe this time it'll stick). Going in, everyone knew that his new line for Nina Ricci had to somehow define a house that hasn't had any clear identity. Ricci has been known for being pretty and feminine and expensive, in the vaguest of ways. So, Theyskens used the bottle of Ricci's most famous perfume, L'Air du Temps, as inspiration and direction. He also seemed to have been influenced by some mythical cross between Swan Lake and The Chronicles of Narnia. And the result? Lovely, incomparably romantic, floaty and brisk all at once. Theyskens completely recreated sports-inspired pieces into the softest blouson jackets and ballet tights. Feathers adorned the models' hair, and each look was a cross between some dreamy fantasy and some very sellable pieces (most especially the ribbon-embellished jeans). The colors were washed out shades of charcoal and silver, white and black. Near the end, color came into play with the same bright yellow that Reese Witherspoon so famously wore to the Golden Globes, as well as the slightest hints of purple and green. All in all, Theyskens had an amazing first outing at his new job, and I'm really curious to see where he goes next.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Fall 2007 - John Galliano

Following up his amazing collection for Dior, John Galliano is on a roll! For his eponymous line, he sent out seriously beautiful, frothy, tiered, embellished perfection. Like the prettiest layer cakes embellished with icing, each look was decadent and rich and oh-so-sweet. Crinkled cupcakes of chiffon and satin made for amazing coats and supreme dresses for every occasion. Supremely divine and (surprisingly) commercially viable to boot! I've always been fairly iffy of Galliano's work, but he's really catching my eye this season.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Fall 2007 - Alexander McQueen

Was it a crime to produce a show filled with so many commercially-viable looks? Well, not exactly. But under the guise of something wicked, tortured, evil, and occult, maybe the commercial clothing wasn't exactly a perfect fit. From start to end, there were endless suits to wear to the office and dresses to wear at night, and I don't have a problem with that at all. Although it lacked a certain McQueen flair, just like his critically-maligned sci-fi/Greek goddess/corporate sellout show a few years back, there was still very much to like in here indeed. His attempts at his famous body-sculpture pieces and his signature catsuits felt somewhat lost and misguided in the witchy/Egypt theme. Some of the denim and shearling looks seemed to promote his new McQ line a little too obviously, but whatever works, right? I don't know, I just think stripped of all the theatrics, this was a very desirable collection that will serve McQueen well in his quest for profitability. So sue me.

Fall 2007 - Jasmine di Milo

Jasmine di Milo has the opportunity to become a huge commercial success, most especially in London. And that is all I will say about that.

Fall 2007 - Giambattista Valli

There really is much to say, good or bad. One goes to Valli's shows expecting to see a lineup of gorgeous, smart, just-flirty-enough party frocks for all those stunning young ingenues that love to fill up his front row. And yet, there just wasn't enough here to satisfy that expected model. So many stern, black coats! So many frumpy rip-offs! The opening lineup of long, svelte suits is on-trend, but unfortunately came off as less successful than Marc Jacobs' and Miuccia Prada's takes on lengthiness. The finale piece, a fleurette-covered coat of voluminous proportions, while doubtlessly masterful in its construction, comes a good season (or two...or three) too late, something straight from Stefano Pilati at YSL and already reimagined by Jun Takahashi at Undercover. So where was Valli's signature in all this? Caught somewhere between the last ten looks was a selection of origami-bow embellished cocktail looks that were distinctly young and pretty. The brightest shots of color in the last few dresses were really the strongest indication of Valli's signatures at work. Past shows just didn't prepare me for such a seriously drab show, and I just didn't feel all too impressed by what there was to see. Pics to come...

Brothers & Sisters

I am PSYCHED for episode #19 of Brothers & Sisters! All that is the Walker/McCallister love(ish) square will finally come to life! I'm not really bummed about Chad getting the boot because he was too conflicted and tricky to be likable (that Cartier watch was just damn mean!). But, holy crap, Kevin is so selfish! How could anybody break Scotty's heart like that? And to do it twice?! Everybody must watch this show! Out with Lost and in with Brothers & Sisters! As Lost's ratings plummet, Brothers & Sisters is slowly gaining. Sweeeeeeeeet.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Fall 2007 - Givenchy

Some of the silhouettes were very reminiscent of Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga and some of the detailing (mainly the gigantic punk studs) were taken straight from last season Giles Deacon (that rhymed House of Holland style!), but nonetheless, Roberto Tisci is really settling into some sort of groove at Givenchy. Yesterday, he showed a romantic naval theme, something I would imagine would fit right in along the southern coast of France in the middle of last century, if that southern coast had a bit more dark, moody, militaristic elegance than I imagine it would have. And that is exactly why Roberto Tisci succeeds. He is difficult to pin down to anything specific, without seeming entirely derivative. At times, the fact that you can't pin him down turns out puzzling collections that don't ring true to either a Givenchy spirit, nor Tisci's own romantic inner goth. But when he gets it down, there are certainly hoards of lovely, sharply tailored coats and dreamy, desirable (but not overly sweet) chiffon frocks. He was on-trend with the magnificent fur collars on his sharp navy peacoats. His wide-leg sailor trousers certainly seem more forgiving than any skinny pants ever could. The vaguely nautical theme that he derived from his latest couture show seems somewhat diluted (excuse the pun), but this may still prove to be quite a commercial success. And that's what really counts in the end, right? Pics to come...